Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No, Mr. President

During Lent our congregation is making special mention of the abortion massacre in our country - both confessing our national toleration and petitioning the Lord for deliverance. John Piper's excerpt below is a stirring and passionate reminder why such prayer is needed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Going to Heaven

"Alexander Schmemann has beautifully drawn attention to the nature of worship as the Church's weekly ascension to heaven (cf. Ex. 24:9-11; 34:1-8, 29-35; Mark 9:1-29): 'The early Christians realized that in order to become the temple of the Holy Spirit they must ascend to heaven where Christ has ascended. They realized also that this ascension was the very condition of their mission in the world, of their ministry to the world. For there - in heaven - they were immersed in teh new life of the Kingdom; and when, after this "liturgy of ascension," they returned into the world, their faces reflected the light, the "joy and peace" of that Kingdom and they were truly its witnesses. They brought no programs and no theories; but wherever they went, the seeds of the Kigndom sprouted, faith was kindled, life was transfigured, things impossible were made possible. They were witnesses, and when they were asked, "Whence shines this light, where is the source of its power?" they knew what to answer and where to lead men. In church today, we so often find we meet only the same old world, not Christ and His Kingdom. We do not realize that we never get anywhere because we never leave any place behind us.'" Chilton, pp. 332-333.

Marriage Supper of the Lamb

"The existence of the Church as the congregation of the New Covenant marks an entirely new epoch in the history of redemption. God was not now merely taking Gentile believers into the Old Covenant (as He had often done under the Old Testament economy). Rather, He was bringing in 'the age to come' (Heb. 2:5; 6:5), the age of fulfillment, during these Last Days. Pentecost was the inception of a New Covenant. With the final divorce and destruction of the unfaithful wife in A.D. 70, the marriage of the Church to her Lord was firmly established; the Eucharistic celebration of the Church was fully revealed in its true nature as 'the Marriage Supper of the Lamb' (v. 9)." Chilton, p. 473.

Millennial Muddle

Just finished preaching a series on eschatology which is available online via our website or for purchase via email info_at_trinitycda.org. I wanted to put up a number of quotations from David Chilton's Days of Vengeance which I found particularly helpful in the course of study.

"With the rise of divergent eschatologies over the last two centuries, the traditional evangelical optimism of the Churchwas tagged with teh term 'postmillennialism,' whether the so-called 'postmillennialists' liked it or not. This has had positive and negative results. On the plus side, it is (as we have seen) a technically accurate description of orthodoxy; and it carries the connotation of optimism. On the minus side, it can too often be confused with heretical millenarianism. And, while 'amillennialism' rightly expresses the orthodox abhorrence of apocalyptic revolution, it carries (both by name and by historic association) a strong connotation of defeatism. The present writer therefore calls himself a 'postmillennialist,' but also seeks to be sensitive to the inadequacies of current theological terminology.

"This 'generic' postmillennialism holds that Jesus Christ established His mediatorial Kingdom by His death, resurrection, and ascension to the heavenly Throne, and as the Second Adam rules over all creation until the end of the world, when He shall come again to judge the living and the dead; that He is conquering all nations by the Gospel, extending the fruits of His victory throughout the world, thereby fulfilling the dominion mandate originally given by God to Adam; that eventually, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, 'the earth will be ful of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea' (Isa. 11:9); and that the Biblical promises of abundant blessing, in every area of life, will be poured out by God upon the whole world, in covenantal response to the faithfulness of His people." Chilton, pp. 497-498

Sexual Sin

Proverbs 7:7 (NKJV)
7 And I saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding,

For a number of weeks we have considered the positive lessons which young men teach us as the people of God. Unfortunately, there are also negative lessons they teach as Solomon remarks today. And one of these is their propensity to sexual sin.

Young men frequently imagine that having sex makes them all grown up. Having sex is the measure of a man. Interestingly enough, however, Solomon teaches us that the young man who falls into sexual sin is not doing the leading, he is being led. Far from being manly, he is being effeminate. Solomon remarks later in the chapter that “he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks.” As Solomon remarks in our verse, a young man who falls into sexual sin is “devoid of understanding.” He is the consummate fool.

So, young men, beware sexual temptation. There was a day in American culture when it was more difficult to convince a woman to have sex outside the confines of marriage. That day is gone. Throughout your life, particularly if you go off to college, you will find that there are plenty of young women not just willing but urging you to come along with them. Understand Solomon’s warning. The offer they are making may look good up front – she’s attractive, your hormones are engaged, sex is a good and great thing – but the end is death, shame, destruction. Don’t be like an ox going off to the slaughter.

But sexual temptation comes in more shapes than the three dimensional one. Pornography is a killer and it is more easily accessible today than ever before in history. The same women who are willing to seduce you in person, are more than willing to sell themselves in magazines and on the internet. Flee from it. Pornography is the way of death – it will destroy your initiative, undermine your marriages, and, most importantly, estrange you from your Maker and Redeemer. If you need help, get help. Do not be a young man lacking sense.

As we consider the particular temptation that young men face, the exhortation comes to all of us. Beware sexual sin. It is the path to destruction and death. Though Satan may make it look attractive up front, be assured its end is in death and destruction.

Reminded of our propensity to take the good gifts of God like sex and turn them into instruments for our own death, let us kneel and seek His forgiveness.

The Sheerest Quixotism

"Apart from the power and pormise of God, the preaching of such a religion as Christianity, to such a population as that of paganism, is the sheerest Quixotism. It crosses all the inclinations, and condemns all the pleasures of guilty man. The preaching of the Gospel finds its justification, its wisdom, and its triumph, only in the attitude and relation which the infinite and almighty God sustains to it. It is His religion, and therefore it must ultimately become a universal religion."

W. G. T. Shedd in David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, p. 497.